The Hervanta central axis is the largest building complex designed by Raili and Reima Pietilä. It was built in two phases: the shopping, leisure and parish centres were completed in 1979 and the multi-purpose centre in 1989. The sports centre designed to be built at the western end of the complex was never realised.
Hervanta district was originally planned as a satellite city of Tampere, with 40 000–50 000 inhabitants, a university campus and workplaces. The plan was based on Aarno Ruusuvuori’s first prize competition entry (1967). The first apartment blocks completed in 1973 were severely criticised for their monotony, and as a compensation, the City of Tampere commissioned the Pietilä couple to design a cluster of public and commercial buildings. The buildings form an east-west-oriented strip perpendicular to the main road, following Ruusuvuori’s plan. The complex is placed along a partially covered pedestrian route.
Pietiläs’ aimed to create a local identity to the new district by using red brick, a typical material for factories in Tampere, as well as arches and rounded corners that refer to the Art Nouveau architecture in the city. Simultaneously, these recall also other historical periods, such as ancient Roman ruins. This explicit use of historical references made the Hervanta central axis one of the first examples of Postmodernism in Finland. The shopping centre was extended in 2007 (Arkkitehtitoimisto Eero Lahti), and the multi-purpose centre was renovated in 2016–2017.
Text: Kristo Vesikansa